From the last couple of days, we are witnessing this nonstop propaganda by some elements within Pakistan and outside Pakistan regarding the construction of the Hindu Temple in Islamabad. Before going into the detail of a particular temple. We first must understand Pakistan is facing a Hybrid threat, which includes this ideological front as well where the disinformation and propaganda tools are being used to create strong polarization in the society. “Prometheism” was a political doctrine by Józef Piłsudski, it aimed to weaken the Russian Empire and its successor states, including the Soviet Union, by supporting “nationalist” independence movements. The existence of this doctrine in the Post-Modern era is debatable but when talking about Hybrid warfare we must not neglect the ideological war, especially in the light of Clash of civilization. Two Nation theory which laid the ideological foundation of Pakistan clearly explains why Muslims being a separate civilization having separate code of life (morals, laws, culture, rules) need a separate state based on true principles of Islam. Islam is the ideology from which the Pakistan draws strength. In today’s world, Pakistan and Israel are the only countries being founded on religious grounds while all other countries in the world are founded on the ideology of Nationalism.
We would like to clarify a few principles that must be understood before you ride the Bandwagon and start bashing Pakistan and Pakistani society. The Neo-Liberal Capitalist world order induced an identity crisis within the Islamic world and particularly in Muslim youth. That is the reason why most of the youth gets diluted by different ideologies including Communism, Liberalism, Nationalism, etc.
Why we are talking about this is because this is not a random campaign but an organized propaganda- from Muhajir to Pushtun nationalism and from nationalism to sectarianism all are pieces of the same puzzle. How many of you ever heard about Christians praying in a church adjacent to a Masjid in Murree? How many of you heard about Muslims helping Christians rebuilding St. Mary’s Church in Gujranwala not long ago, just happened this year in February,2020. Ever heard of any Muslim Scholar in Pakistan calling for the destruction of any Temple or Church and building a Masjid on them? But a single incident and you are witnessing nonstop propaganda against Pakistan.
We must consider the background and context of any issue before riding the bandwagon and spreading propaganda against Pakistan and Muslims.
In the Islamic state, the Muslims are obliged not just to protect the lives and properties of Non-Muslims but also their religious places.
ولولا دفع الله الناس بعضهم ببعض لهدمت صوامع وبيع وصلوات ومساجد يذكر فيها اسم الله كثيرا
“And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned”.
— Quran 22:40
But having said that again this brings us back to the debate of believer and non-believer and Islamic principles about rights of minorities based on those principles. Construction of any religious place for any religious community, in general, is not the responsibility of the state.
Pakistan’s Government never funds even construction of Masjids except Faisal Masjid which was built with the help of funding by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The majority of the Masjids in Pakistan are not sponsored by the state. These religious institutions regardless of the sect are solely run by public or by communities. Not just the Masjids but also Islamic seminaries (Madaras) are being run by the public, not by the state.
Just go to your near Madrassa and ask them about how they manage the finances of both Masjid and Madrassa. You will only get one answer “Public funds” them. Not only in Pakistan but even around the globe it works that way. Many who are lecturing the Muslims of Pakistan about the liberty and freedom in West regarding the construction of Masjids in Europe. No European state funds the construction of Masjids, it is the Muslim community of Europe which raises funds and they build Masjids especially buy churches in UK and Germany and later convert them into Masjids. Moreover, there is a ban on the building of Minarets on Mosques and on call for Prayer (Adhan), in most of Europe. Similarly, in France you are free to do everything except wearing Niqab, they fine you for doing that so it’s better we should not learn about Freedom, human rights, and liberty from Europe (CNN and BBC).
Now coming towards the part of the construction of Temples and other sites. The ministry of religious affairs deals with the management of historical sites including temples, shrines, Churches, etc. Government-funded the rebuilding of Rohtas Fort. Similarly, the Kartarpur corridor as those are historical sites just like the Shrines. But when it comes to building new temples by Islamic state its totally a different case.
According to MNA Lal Chand Malhi Hindu population in Islamabad had reached to around 3,000 (350 Families). But sadly, they don’t have any temple and that is why back in 2017 this project was approved and now the government has released funds for the construction of a new temple. Whenever we discuss the need for a school, Masjid, or any other institute in any area. It is better if we first consider the already present institutions and must always prefer fixing the already existing instead of starting from zero, which is nothing but a waste of resources and time. There are about ten dilapidated temples and Gurdwaras just in Rawalpindi which are no longer functional. Similarly, in Islamabad, there is a beautiful temple in Saidpur but sadly, Hindus are not allowed to pray inside. The temple in Saidpur Village currently serves as a tourist site. According to CDA records, Rama Mandir (Saidpur) was built by Raja Mann Singh around 1580. The government must allow the Hindu community to make it operational. This will provide the Hindu community not just a place to pray but will also help the community preserving the sanctity of this beautiful religious site.
Similarly, the Hindu community must be allowed to reconstruct the existing temples in Rawalpindi as well, but we must avoid such decisions which pave the way for more polarization in society. It is sad, how certain elements use such sensitive topics for political gains.
Lastly, we are proud of our non-muslim community. They are serving in the Armed Forces, Judiciary, Media, and in every walk of life. We acknowledge their contribution to the state of Pakistan. We are not saying “Minorities” in Pakistan are not facing any problems but from quota in jobs to reserved seats in National and Provincial Assemblies- we believe we are still doing much better from the rest of the South-Asia at least.
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